Late Comeback Pushes Pioneers Past Geneva, 11-8

ELMIRA, N.Y. – It took a late four-run surge in the eighth inning, but the Elmira Pioneers (26-21) took down the Geneva Red Wings (28-20) by a final score of 11-8 on Friday evening at Dunn Field.

The Pioneers raced out to a five-run lead thanks to a big first inning. Brett Rodriguez (Wofford) opened the scoring when he scored on a wild pitch and a subsequent single from Brayden Combs (Kentucky) pushed the lead to two. A Tyler Melko (Northampton C.C.) grounder then plated Combs, who had advanced to third after a walk to Brett Vosik (Kansas) and a wild pitch. After a walk to Jonathan Crimmin (Siena), Colton Evans (UC Davis) singled to right field and plated two, giving the Pioneers five first-inning runs.

The Red Wings responded immediately, however, in the top of the second. With two outs, a bases-loaded walk to Trustin Riley (Tampa) got the Red Wings on the board. Dominic Toso (Bucknell) then followed up with a two-run single to cut the deficit to two. Will Simoneit (Cornell) was then hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring Geneva to within one. Joseph Tassin (Bossier Parrish C.C.) completed the comeback for Geneva, when he singled home two runs, giving the Red Wings a 6-5 lead.

Elmira would tie the game up in the bottom half of the frame, when Conor Grammes (Xavier) went deep to left-center for his third home run of the season.

Geneva jumped back on top with two more runs in the third inning. A Riley single plated Justin Etts (NJIT) and a subsequent Toso double scored Riley, giving the Red Wings a two-run lead at 8-6.

The Red Wings' lead was cut in half in the bottom of the fourth. Grammes claimed his second RBI of the day, when he singled to left and drove in Andrew Orzel (Wofford), thus bringing the score to 8-7 Geneva.

With the score still 8-7 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Pioneers threatened to tie the game with two outs and runners at first and second. Devon Adams (Old Dominion) singled to left, but a perfect throw from Mikey Arman (Kenyon) nailed Crimmin at the plate, preserving the Red Wings' one-run cushion.

The Pioneers could not be contained for much longer, however, as they exploded for four runs in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead for good. With Rodriguez at third and Orzel at second, Grammes ripped a double down the left-field line, giving the Pioneers their first lead since the first inning. Brett Vosik (Kansas) then scored Grammes with a single to right, giving the Pioneers a two-run lead at 10-8. The Pios were not done yet, as Melko then crushed a triple to right-centerfield, scoring Vosik and pushing the Elmira lead to three.

T.J. Stuart (Manhattan) came on for the ninth inning and worked a perfect frame en route to his second save of the season.

Shane Barringer (Siena) was credited with the win, after he worked 2.0 scoreless innings of relief. Garrett Uhl (UT Dallas) was tagged with the loss after allowing all four runs in the Pioneers' eighth-inning comeback.

The Pioneers will be at home again on Saturday, July 29, for a doubleheader against the Utica Blue Sox. Game one will be the resumption of a suspended contest from Monday in Utica, with play resuming in the top of the sixth inning. Game two is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m.

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